Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bernie Sanders could rattle Hillary Clinton’s plans

It’s good to see Senator Bernie Sanders running for President. The Independent from Vermont, who was once mayor of Burlington VT, a member of the US House for 16 years and now a US Senator since the 2006 election, announced Thursday his intention to seek the nomination of the Democratic Party, the same nomination former First Lady Hillary Clinton desires. With Sanders declaring, now there are two in that party’s race while the Republican field has a few declared and a few acting as if they are running. Sanders would have to change his voter registration, we think.

There are other members of the Democratic Party as possible candidates including former Governors Martin O’Malley (Maryland) and Lincoln Chafee (Rhode Island) and former Senator Jim Webb (Virginia). Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has been mentioned, but for her supporters, Sanders will serve as her proxy. There may some others but the entry of Sanders is interesting because he comes from a small state where as an independent he has conquered Democrats and Republicans alike. The first three presidential primaries next year are in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina where his message might resonate better with the voters than the “politics as usual” voice of Clinton.

In Iowa and New Hampshire, Sanders will better relate to the middle class white voters who are struggling through the economy while the rich get richer. It’s a message he has championed in all of his campaigns. In South Carolina, he will make the same point, but Clinton has the upper hand there where the black leaders continue to tout Hillary’s husband Bill as the United States’ first black president. The South Carolina and other African-American communities for some reason have given high praise and strong support to the Clintons, even when Barack Obama ran against Hillary in 2008.

Sanders, now 73 and 75 at the time of the November 2016 elections, will offer a message of raising taxes on the wealthy, tuition free education, restrictions on free-trade agreements, stronger regulations of Wall Street and banks, and other issues to which the working middle class relate, Democrats, Republicans and Independent voters alike. He will go after Hillary for her support of Middle East conflicts/wars and her husband’s solicitation of foreign funds while she was Secretary of State. In politics, Sanders brings fresh air to the campaign, and while the odds are against him, he’s the type of candidate that could actually win Iowa, New Hampshire and, possibly, South Carolina and turn the predicted Clinton run-away into a true race for the Democratic nomination.
--------------------
Dictionary.com word of the day
piffle (noun) [pif-uh-l]: nonsense, as trivial or senseless talk

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

More parents should care as Toya Graham did in Baltimore

Did you see the video of the Toya Graham slapping at her son, Michael Singleton, and chasing away from the disruptive crowd (mildly said) in Baltimore? Ms. Graham says she wasn’t so worried about embarrassing her son. She was obviously pissed off that he was in the midst of the riots there this week. The single, unemployed mother of six told her son to stay away from the fray, but he went anyway.

Singleton promised his mother he would not go to the mall in Baltimore where there was trouble. Graham went too to check out the teens where were there. Singleton was wearing a mask of sorts, but, when the two made eye contact, she knew he was behind the mask. She didn’t hesitate to go after him, to stop him from getting into trouble. Later, the son admitted that the mom was just looking for her son.

If more parents took that kind of interest in their children, if more parents used the “back of the hand” the way Graham did, fewer kids would end up in trouble with the law. A calm voice at that moment may have kept Singleton out of trouble, but the strong hand and the tugging definitely pushed the son away from the trouble. It was a good show of support by mom for her son. Some children do not understand this type of support.

This incident is a reminder of the young woman who was teaching middle school chorus, not a subject of great interest for many, especially when it’s mandatory. One particular student in her class was being disruptive, and when she instructed him to report to the principal’s office, he spit on her. She reacted by slapping him, not a good situation for the young teacher. The mother of the student was called to the school to meet with the principal, the teacher and the student. When the mother entered the room, she looked at the teacher and asked, “Did you slap my child?” After confirmation of the incident, the mother said the teacher had not reacted enough. “Thanks for doing that,” she told the teacher, “but when I get my son home, he’s going to get the beating of his life for spitting on you.” Good mom!
--------------------
Dictionary.com word of the day
cacophonous (adjective) [kuh-kof-uh-nuh s]: having a harsh or discordant sound 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Order blackened mahi-mahi sandwich at Norman’s in Miami Beach

A wise man once told me that when you find menu item at a restaurant and realize that enjoying that dish is only possible at that restaurant, you should always and only order that food every time you frequent that restaurant. Case in point, at the time, was the hot roast beef sandwich at Two Guys on Hillsborough Street across from the NC State campus.

The restaurant is no longer there, torn down to make way for a new building but the sandwich lives on in the minds of those who care. It was a simple selection: a couple of layers of white loaf bread, open face with layers of roast beef covered with brown gravy accompanied by a healthy portion of unhealthy French fries which could be dipped in the gravy or doused with ketchup.

Even though there are many very good restaurants in the Raleigh/ Cary area, there are none that offer a good blackened mahi-mahi sandwich. “Good” means a soft bun or a warm Italian ciabatta roll or the like with lettuce, tomato, red onion and a thick piece or pieces of the tender white fish. Substitution of grouper is okay but please don’t offer flounder or tilapia. Neither take the place of the mahi-mahi or grouper. As a side, a Caesar salad is just fine, but if the fries are good (but not good for you), it’s okay to have them.

One of the best blackened mahi-mahi sandwichs ever is at Norman’s American Bar & Grill on Collins Avenue in Miami Beach FL. When the weather is nice (not too hot and not too windy) sitting at a sidewalk table makes the meal even more enjoyable. While a beer of your choice complements the sandwich very well, the refreshing raspberry iced tea is a unique drink selection which gives the meal a nice balance. It’s not easy to get to Norman’s on a regular basis but a trip to the area is just not complete for me without it. It’s a wish that a restaurant closer to home would have such an offering, even with the worth-it price of more than $20 with a tip.
--------------------
Dictionary.com word of the day
maudlin (adjective) [mawd-lin]: foolishly sentimental 

Monday, April 27, 2015

The emphasis placed on recruiting of high schoolers is too much

It continues to amaze me and many others how much emphasis is placed on the recruiting of high school athletes. This is not sour grapes that NC State, my favorite team, doesn’t enjoy the spotlight associated with press conferences by 17-year olds when they announce where they will go to school for one semester, play college basketball for two semesters and then shuffle off to the professional ranks. The emphasis placed on the recruiting by colleges of high school players is over-played.

It sells newspapers; it sends beat reporters to the site of the anouncement; it causes top columnists of local sports pages to write about it. It brings people, many who don’t give a flip and many who live and die with it and think that the player is the next God’s-Gift-To-Winning-An-NCAA-Title, to the internet to watch and listen to the announcement. It’s over blown, and this is one reason the world is not a safer place.

Mark Packer, a college sports radio host and son of Billy Packer, has a great line any time a caller asks him to proclaim the abilities of a college’s recruiting class. “Call me in four years and I’ll tell you if they were any good,” he says, or something as that. At least, that’s what he used to say. It might be that he changes the number to one (year) or two (years), but you get the point. The recruits these days seem to better than they were a few years ago, but the question remains: Are they? Or, is the rest of the talent just mediocre at best?

The talent in the NBA, we are told, is as good as or better than it every used to be. That would be as a whole, not specifically individuals. Is LeBron James a better player than Michael Jordan? Not if you’re counting championship rings, but maybe overall he’s more talented. Is there a player in the NBA who is as talented as Bill Russell was?

As far as college players, we don’t get the chance, these days, to come to that conclusion, to compare players of 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years ago to today’s players because the best players are now in the one or two and done mode, leaving college before leaving a mark in the record books and making a considerable mark on the college game by playing four years. The college coaches who recruit that way, who ignore college academics for intercollegiate athletics, should be ashamed; they are making a sham of college mission. The fans who agree with the coaches and who live and die on the words of a 17-year old need to get a life.
--------------------
Dictionary.com word of the day
veridical (adjective) [vuh-rid-i-kuh l]: truthful; veracious

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Why Senator Jesse Helms voted against the RFRA of 1993

In the 2015: Day to Day, April 20 post, Gov. McCrory stakes claim against religious legislation, sort of, it was noted that Jesse Helms, the United States senator from North Carolina, voted against the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. Why did he do that? We asked, and thanks to Andrew Curliss of The News & Observer, and the Jesse Helms Center at Wingate College, we know. In today’s newspaper, in the “Under the Dome” space, Curliss quotes Helms, in his 20th year in the Senate, from records of the Jesse Helms Center:

I believe my credentials are intact regarding my record of support for the religious liberties envisioned by our Founding Fathers. This nation was created by men and women convinced that the right to observe one’s faith, free from the heavy hand of government, is the most cherished of individual freedoms. Having said that, I am obliged to observe that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act purports to strengthen the religious protections afforded by the constitution. In fact, with a name like the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, how can anyone vote against it? Unfortunately, around this place you learn quickly that catchy names on bills do not tell what Paul Harvey calls “the rest of the story.”

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act has less to do with our legal and historical notions of religious liberties than it does with the creation of new rights and employment opportunities for the nation’s lawyers. This legislation when enacted will make it easier for litigants with many different and singular religious beliefs to attack virtually all state and federal laws that somehow burden acts that individuals engage in as part of their religious practice. Mark my words. Once again, the courthouse doors are about to fly open as thousands will demand protection for religious practices as varied as the use of hallucinogenic drugs and animal sacrifice.

Helms’ objection was rooted in his dislike of what he felt was and would be frivolous law suits. Except when he needed one, lawyers were not very high on his list of appreciated careers. His ideas about the RFRA ring true today. It’s ironic that many who oppose the RFRA today and attempts by states to enact and “strengthen” it on the state level would probably agree with Senator Helms but never vote for him, and his thoughts in objection to the law are similar to those who would oppose him in an election.
--------------------
Dictionary.com word of the day
simulacrum (noun) [sim-yuh-ley-kruh m]: a slight, unreal, or superficial likeness or semblance

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Why Loretta Lynch’s confirmation as AG took so long

Maybe the 179 days it took to confirm North Carolina native Loretta Lynch as Attorney General of the United States, replacing Eric Holder, took too long, but don’t blame just the Republicans who have been accused of holding up the nomination. Also fault Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader at the time of the nomination. Reid was a non-negotiator with the Republicans. He disallowed debate; he disallowed amendments; he disallowed Republican participation in the United States Senate where Presidential nominations go for confirmation.

When Lynch was nominated last November, the minority Republican Party was able to filibuster the vote and saw it as an opening to publicly object to many of President Obama’s policies. When the Republicans gained control of the Senate earlier this year, the GOPers saw the nomination as a card to play when negotiating other policy. In this case, the Republicans received concessions on specific issues, not eliminating desires of the Obama Administration but negotiating policy, giving a little, gaining a little. This is the way our legislative bodies are supposed to work.

With Senator Reid, the Republicans had little voice except to stop legislation and appointments cold with various rules maneuvers. Reid disallowed Republican amendments and debate. He was very much a dictator over the legislative process. Under Senator Mitch McConnell, the US Senate has been more open to bills being filed, debated, amended and passed. The two parties actually talk to each other and are working together a lot better than under the direction of Reid. McConnell worked the process the way it should have been worked months ago. If Reid had done this, Lynch would have been confirmed under his leadership. Like him or not, McConnell has reopened the Senate for business, and that’s good for the country. The NC General Assembly leaders should take note.

It remains a little disappointing that Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, our representatives from North Carolina, refused to join the majority voters in the approval of Lynch. They have their reasons, much which has to do with Obama’s Justice Department going after laws passed by our General Assembly. Neither Burr not Tillis brought “shame to themselves and their offices,” as some have said. While Lynch is a native of the state they represent, they seem to be voting their conviction, and that’s okay as well; neither will have to worry about this vote in their next election.
--------------------
Dictionary.com word of the day
culturati (noun) [kuhn-chuh-rah-tee]: people deeply interested in cultural and artistic matters

Friday, April 24, 2015

Time Marches On Too Long for Many Baseball Games

Illustration by John S. Dykes
Reprinted from The Wall Street Journal
As the major league baseball season nears the end of its first month of the 2015 season, and as college baseball enters the last few weeks of its regular season, the debate over the length of baseball gamesthe time it takes to play a 9-inning gamecontinues. This subject was touched on a few weeks ago in this space.

Some of the best baseball games you’ll experience are 1-0 pitching gems, but a pitching duel—exciting to some—is boring to the casual baseball observer, even if the game lasts but two hours. On the other hand, a 13-12 game could extend to 18 innings and take several hours, too long to most but very exciting if you can stay the entire game. There’s a fine line that determines a good baseball game under time constraints.

Part of the problem of the time it takes to play a complete game comes from advancements in technology that has generated more detailed scouting reports causing pitchers and catchers to take more time to determine the right pitch for the circumstance. Field managers have such in-depth intelligence (baseball brains, not necessarily other types) they take additional time to move the fielders around, sometimes leaving half the field uncovered because of the tendency of a batter to pull the ball to the right or left side of the field, especially against certain pitchers.

The length of time of a baseball game will not be reduced by the minutes and seconds taken between half innings. Because of the money television pays to baseball, there’s always a chance of the time between half innings expanding. So MLB has put the onus on the players, managers, and umpires to speed up the game when commercials are not being shown. There’s the time between pitches to reduce, and the time batters can adjust their equipment, including but not limited to their batting gloves and batting helmet. And other time.

About three weeks ago, there was a good article—The Plan to Speed Up Baseball—in The Wall Street Journal. It was written by Matthew Futterman. The story offers the reader a comprehensive look at the dilemma in which baseball finds itself with the fans. The article is extensive, but you’ll get through it much quicker than you will a game. Baseball fans should read it. Within that story, there is a link to a related article written in October 2013: Why Kids Aren’t Watching Baseball. It's another interesting read on the state of baseball today.
--------------------
Dictionary.com word of the day
sang-froid (noun) [sahn-frwa]: coolness of mind; calmness; composure

Thursday, April 23, 2015

N&O Baseball Coverage; Biggest Life Decisions; Garden Strolls

N&O Baseball Coverage: The usefulness of coverage of major league baseball by the print edition of The News & Observer continues to be debated, at least by me and my BIL. As noted in previous posts, the newspaper does not include box scores at all. Games end later than press-rolling time, and, noted executive editor John Drescher in a recent column, why run two-day old box scores? The newspaper runs two-day old NBA playoff box scores and two-day old NHL playoff box scores, both of which are meaningless when compared to two-day old regular season baseball box scores, so save space and send the readership to the internet for NBA and NHL summaries as well.

Continuing with baseball coverage, N&O presses start so early few scores—Team A 2, Team B 1—are reported from the day before so the standings also are a day late. In today’s newspaper, only one final score was reported for the 15 games played. That was from a Wednesday afternoon game. The other games were played under the lights. Tomorrow, we might see scores from eight games (all with afternoon starting times) and no scores from four games, all with starting times after 7 p.m. eastern time. And, the standings will not be complete. MLB.com here we come.

Biggest Life Decision: Also in Thursday’s newspaper, Andrew Carter, the N&O beat reporter for UNC athletics, penned a lengthy recruiting piece for Tar Heels basketball coach Roy Williams for the most part with a little included for UNC football coach Larry Fedora. The column was about the continuing NCAA investigation there and how it relates to recruiting in general and specifically that of Kinston’s Brandon Ingram who is expected to announce Monday where he will play college basketball for one year before going to the NBA.

In the column, Carter says Ingram is “a high school senior, after all, on the cusp of making the biggest decision of his life.” Really, the BIGGEST decision of his life? Selecting where to attend college is a huge decision made by thousands of students every year. But, does Carter know Ingram well enough to make such a bold statement. It might be understood that this decision could be the biggest at this point in his life, but, on the other hand, there may have been decisions prior to this that are bigger. Maybe, before making such a statement, Carter had an in-depth discussion with Ingram about previous big decisions to determine where this one fits. One wonders if Ingram chooses a school other than UNC will that “biggest decision” will be the wrong decision as far as Carter is concerned.

Garden Strolls: One reader responded to yesterday’s post of photos from the WRAL-TV Azalea Gardens with an email subjected “Vomit.” His text was simply: “A stroll through the WRAL Gardens? Gag me!” With all due respect to his response, Wednesday was the first day home after a week of on-the-road business. So the day was a break from work and included lots of stuff with my wife such as doing yard work together, then going out to lunch together, taking care of a few errands together, a stroll through the WRAL Gardens together, a visit to the State Farmers Market together, a late afternoon wine tasting at The Wine Merchant in Cary together, and watching a feel-good movie (And So It Goes, Michael Douglass and Diane Keaton) on Netflix together. It was a very nice day indeed.
--------------------
Dictionary.com word of the day
bolide (noun) [boh-lahyd]: a large, brilliant meteor, especially one that explodes

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A stroll through the WRAL-TV Azalea Gardens is worth the time

Today was such a nice day, a time to cut the grass, enjoy lunch out, and take a stroll through the beautiful WRAL-TV Azalea Gardens in Raleigh. Some of the shrubs are in peak performance, some are coming down and some are just blooming. If you have the chance, visit this spectacular array of azaleas and other flowering plants at 2619 Western Blvd., Raleigh NC. For more information, visit: http://www.wral-gardens.com/. And, thanks to Capitol Broadcasting Company founder AJ Fletcher who recreated the WRAL-TV Gardens, opened to the public since 1959!



 








 









Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Carolina Blue consistency makes world a better, safer place

It seems about the only thing more stupid than the 946 word article about bringing consistency to the UNC-CH school colors and logos and the presentation thereof on today’s sports page of The News & Observer is writing about it in this space. There’s vomit all over my computer screen from reading the story and then writing about it. Usually those types of stories are skipped but this time suffering was on purpose.

Thank goodness, better yet, thank God the program in Chapel Hill cares as much about its appearance than it does its academics and throws good time after bad developing its brand. The uniformity of its uniforms will take attention away from no-show classes and plagiarized academic papers and the NCAA penalties to come. The color/style project was a joint venture between Nike, the primary sponsor of all things Tar Heels, and the UNC athletics department, thankfully and supposedly at no additional cost to UNC athletics. It would be a shame if they had cut a tutor or two to pay for the softball team to have the same on-the-field appearance as the rowing team. Mark my word: You can hire all the defensive coaching geniuses you wish, but it will be the uniforms that makes UNC's football defense better.

The effort took 18 months of hard labor, just a fraction of the time the NCAA has been investigating the football and basketball programs, but in the end, using its primary colors of baby blue and white along with navy blue, black and metallic silver, the project is complete and the story has been reported. With the new color scheme, with that baby blue shade consistent on every UNC uniform, the world is no doubt a better and safer place. Gag me!

The newspaper report today was extremely detailed by writer Andrew Carter. He quoted UNC Athletics Director Bubba Cunningham, a representative of Nike, famous designer Alexander Julian, and promotional videos that lead up to the exciting and earth shattering announcement. The videos ended promoting “Our Blue!” (Imagine the play on words opponents will use at just the right time.) In the future, we’re pretty sure reporters (and there are many) who love to see UNC win every time out will skirt when the Tar Heels lose by writing, “UNC may have lost the game but they sure looked good in those new uniforms.”
--------------------
Dictionary.com word of the day
gauche (noun) [gohsh]: lacking social polish; tactless

Monday, April 20, 2015

Gov. McCrory stakes claim against religious legislation, sort of

Governor Pat McCrory continues to position himself as a conservative in the old pro-business-but-forget-about-social-issues sense. He has several times voiced concerns about a religious freedom bill introduced in the General Assembly. The bill, say proponents, would allow businesses, elected judges and appointed magistrates to use religious liberties as they wish. Opponents say that means those who are protected by the bill would be allowed to discriminate against anyone they wish with the use of religious liberties guaranteed under the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

Gov. McCrory is basically asking if there is a problem being solved by the legislation that’s working its way through the General Assembly. It feels good that McCrory is actually questioning social legislation. It’s a quandary of sorts that the conservative and religious right wants to legislate social conservatism while at the same time complaining about the over-involvement in the lives of individuals. If you’re one, please explain.

The Governor hasn’t said if he would veto the legislation if it passes, and as much as it’s politics his desire to quietly derail it before it gets to his desk, he’s not about to draw the proverbial line on Jones Street in Raleigh by saying he would veto it. McCrory is running for re-election and needs the so-called base of the Republican Party to support and vote for him just as he does the independents who like the business approach by the Governor but dislike social legislation.

One interesting note about this legislation is that it is very much the same as federal legislation which passed 97-3 in the United States Senate in 1993. The legislation was sponsored by those in the Democratic Party but Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina, a man of deep religious freedom values, voted against the bill and was the only GOPer to do so. Why? Maybe Rob Christensen, the political writer and historian of The News & Observer, can give us insight to that. This inquiring mind would like to know.
--------------------
Dictionary.com word of the day
atticism (noun) [at-uh-siz-uh m]: concise and elegant expression, diction, or the like

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Is N&O reporter Dan Kane one-and-done with Duke-Sulaimon?

A friend who read a recent post here about an effort by Dan Kane, investigative reporter for The News & Observer, to get to the bottom of Rasheed Sulaimon's dismissal from the Duke University basketball team, said Kane would write no more than one story on the subject. Sulaimon, as you might remember, was the Blue Devils coach's (a name to not to be included in further posts) first-ever player dismissal in that coach’s coaching lifetime. My friend said Kane had met his match with Duke and would get no further than what had been reported. A one-and-done report, so to speak.

Sulaimon was linked to a couple of non-investigated rape allegations on the Duke campus more than a year ago. The coach and his staff were aware of the allegations but did nothing about it them, at least not publically. Only after other incidents with Sulaimon did the basketball player get booted from the team. It’s obvious the player just didn’t fit in the coach’s game plan which includes hiring a bunch of one-and-done athletes just to win a national basketball title versus recruiting students who want to get a full education (or at least more than one year) while playing basketball. It’s also well known Sulaimon was team-disruptive. The combination of the three—rape allegations, not fitting into the game plan, being disruptive—was caused for Sulaimon’s dismissal.

But today’s post is not about the Duke situation at all. It’s about Kane, someone who has been criticized and praised in this space for his thorough and sometimes over-the-top investigation of the obviously life-threatening academic-athletics scandal at UNC-Chapel Hill, something that could bring to an end the world as we know it. He published another story today that briefly noted UNC is very much cooperating with the NCAA investigation, becoming a partner of sorts. Some think this is unusual, but the bottom line is that UNC wants to bring to an end the inquisition and get on to the penalty phase so several years from now the football and basketball teams, probably under new coaching leadership, can move on to repeating the academic skimming and head towards more titles. Duke does it with one-and-done players. UNC does it with players who probably shouldn’t be in school there at all.

So, back to Kane. Today he was brief in “revealing” teamwork by UNC and the NCAA and was long in repeating everything else in this scandal that has come before. A shorter story would have been sufficient but The N&O continues to milk the scandal for all it can, to sell papers. It’s now obvious that Kane, when it comes to getting to the bottom of the Duke-Sulaimon scandal, has hit a thick wall or there would have been more reporting since his story a couple of weeks ago. This is disturbing and shows that indeed Kane has met his match when it comes to dualing with the Duke Coach and the University the coach controls. Hopefully, Kane will prove wrong this theory. If so, more apologies will be forthcoming, but it's doubtful that will have to happen.
--------------------
Dictionary.com word of the day
brio (noun) [bree-oh]: vigor; vivacity

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Debbie Yow receives pay raise far beyond NCSU academic salaries

Congratulations to Debbie Yow, the NC State Wolfpack Director of Athletics whose contract was recently extended financially and in length of time. Last Friday the NC State University Board of Trustees agreed to boost her salary by $174,000, giving her an annual total base of $690,000. The length of her contract was extended by two years through July 2019, a time at which she says she will retire. She can earn more through incentives tied to athletics results, especially that of football and men’s basketball.

Yow’s base salary though is less than the base of two employees she supervises: basketball coach Mark Gottfried who makes a base of $760,000 and a total compensation of more than $2,000,000 with endorsements and incentives, and football coach Dave Doeren who has a base of $840,000 but pulls in more than $2.2 million with endorsements and incentives. It’s interesting that the contracts of all three expire about the same time.

While it has become commonplace for college football and men’s basketball coaches and directors of athletics to be graciously rewarded for their measured successes, the recent raise for Yow and previous new agreements with Gottfried and Doeren shows the importance of college athletics in relation to the executive staff and the college deans at college and universities, especially at NC State. Below is a look at salaries of NC State University executive officers and college deans. Salaries of the Executive Officers and the College Deans were provided by the University of North Carolina General Administration and represent 2014 salaries:

ATHLETICS
  • Dave Doeren, head football coach, $840,000
  • Mark Gottfried, head basketball coach, $760,000
  • Debbie Yow, Director of athletics, $690,000

EXECUTIVE OFFICIERS
  • $520,000: William R. “Randy” Woodson, Chancellor
  • $509, 200: Warwick Arden, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
  • $390,000: Brian C. Sischo, Vice Chancellor for University Advancement
  • $288,410: Charles D. Leffler, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Business
  • $273, 240: Marc I. Hoit, Vice Chancellor for Information Technology
  • $262,748: Eileen S. Goldgeier, Vice Chancellor and General Counsel
  • $245,000, Michael D. Mullen, Vice Chancellor and Dean for the Division of Academic and Student Affairs
  • $230,646: Mladen Alan Vouk, Interim Vice Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Economic Development
  • $173,040: Kevin D. Howell, Assistant to the Chancellor for External Affairs
  • $131,899, P.J. Teal, Secretary of the University and Assistant to the Chancellor

COLLEGE DEANS
  • $304,167: Louis Martin-Vega, Dean, College of Engineering
  • $270,000: Richard Linton, Dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • $269,799: Ira R. Weiss Dean, Poole College of Management
  • $245,000: Michael D. Mullen, Vice Chancellor and Dean for the Division of Academic and Student Affairs
  • $243,793: M. Jayne Fleener, Dean, College of Education
  • $240,214: Daniel L. Solomon, Dean, College of Sciences
  • $240,000: Mary Watzin, Dean, College of Natural Resources
  • $239,480: D. Paul Lunn, Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine
  • $233,783: Marvin J. Malecha, Dean, College of Design
  • $225,676 : Jeffery P. Braden, Dean, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • $220,000: Maureen Grasso, Dean, Graduate School
  • $160,000: David Hinks, Interim Dean, College of Textiles
--------------------
Dictionary.com word of the day
asafetida (noun) [as-uh-fet-i-duh]: a soft, brown, lumpy gum resin having a bitter, acrid taste and and obnoxious odor

Friday, April 17, 2015

Just one story about General Sherman’s march through Dixie

There’s been a lot of War Between the States stuff in the news recently. A few days ago, there was a story about General William Sherman, the Yankee no-good, marching through the South, burning everything in sight except, thank goodness, Raleigh. By the way, the North prefers to call that conflict the Civil War, while Southerners refer to it as either the War of Northern Aggression. Unfortunately, Yankees continue to fight the battle while Southerners have pretty much forgotten the clash and still don’t care how the Yankees feel.

Which brings me to a recounting by historian (loosely used term) Lewis Grizzard about Sherman’s drive through the South, specifically a few days after he burned Atlanta, raping and pillaging along the way. Sherman, according to the late Mr. Grizzard, began his conquest in the New Orleans area, heading northeast into Atlanta and then headed east on Interstate 20 before heading north on Interstate 285. He was in the proximity of Stone Mountain when he heard the foulest language anyone could imagine. Sherman called a halt to his 200,000 troop. The cussing and cursing was being directed directly at Sherman.

On the top of Stone Mountain was a Confederate soldier who obviously had no respect for Sherman. Pissed off, Sherman asked his Lieutenant to send one of his finest to remove the confederate fighter. The Union soldier went up the mountain. There were sounds of fussing and fighting and soon thereafter the confederate soldier tossed the then dead union troop off the mountain. Sherman then directed 10 men up the mountain, but none survived. Then he sent 50, and 49 were tossed off the mountain dead. One soldier had survived and crawled down the mountain. He was missing an arm and a leg and was bleeding from every port in his body and then some, explained Grizzard.

Sherman was shocked to see what he had seen. “One man up, and he’s dead,” said Sherman to the surviving Union soldier. “Then 10 men up and they are all dead. Then we send up 50 and 49 are dead, and you’re in no shape to live. Tell me soldier, what’s the story up there. The Union soldier propped himself up on an elbow, looked up at Sherman and said, “It’s a trick, General. There’s two of them.”
--------------------
Dictionary.com word of the day
bunkum (noun) [buhng-kuh m]: insincere speechmaking by a politician intended merely to please local constituents

Thursday, April 16, 2015

1973-74 NC State basketball team selected for Hall of Fame

It was especially pleasing to me to hear Wednesday that the 1973-74 NC State Wolfpack basketball team that won the NCAA Championship will be inducted into the NC State Athletic Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2016. The ceremony will be held the fall of 2016 in a renovated Reynolds Coliseum which will include State’s Walk of Fame and History.

Being sports editor of the school’s student newspaper, Technician, that spring gave me the feeling of being a part of that historic team. Coverage was not just written by me as several other writers for the newspaper took part. We were careful to write about the games and the players and not about player activities away from the court. We were friends and students first and reporters second, though the coverage was pretty good.

If you want to read an account of the season from our point-of view, if you want to read the actual stories from the newspaper that year, purchase a copy of my book: 1973-74 Reliving the NC State Wolfpack’s Title Run. The chronicle includes every story about the team that was published that year in the Technician. Additionally, there’s a little of my own commentary as well as additional articles that will give you a good sense of the time and place we lived then. Also, there’s an extensive interview with David Thompson that was done by me for the first ACC Basketball Handbook, published by State alum Ivan Mothershead for the 1974-75 season. In other words, you will be reading stories from then not reconstructed memories from now.

In previous classes of the Hall of Fame, players David Thompson and Tommy Burleson and Coach Norman Sloan have already been inducted. So congratulations to the other players and coaches being added as a group. It was a great group of players and a friendly coaching staff that year as State compiled a 30-1 record, defeating North Carolina three times and Maryland three times, beating UCLA in the semifinals and Marquette on the finals.

If interested in purchasing the book, look for it on Amazon books or at Lulu.com, or, for additional information, visit the publisher website: CaryTownPress. For an excellent book review, go to The Unofficial Scorer.
--------------------
Dictionary.com word of the day
grubstake (noun) [gruhb-steyk]: money or other assistance furnished at a time of need or of staring an enterprise


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Does Hillary have to prove herself? Do we call her Hillary?

On one of the national news broadcast the other night, a man in a focus group in Iowa was questioned about his potential support of Hillary Clinton for President a day after she made her somewhat low-key but highly expected announcement she is running for the same position her husband had in the Oval Office. The elective position, that is.

The Iowan being questioned had been an active supporter of Barack Obama for both of his elections to the Presidency. But the man wavered a little when he was asked if he would immediately support Hillary. “She has to prove herself,” or something like that, he responded. The woman at my side watching the same program hearing the same answer disliked his comment.

“That’s because she (Hillary) is a woman,” she said. “He says she has to prove herself because she's a woman. She’s more qualified than Obama was when he ran. Why does she have to prove herself? If she were a man, he would not have said that.” Her comments about Hillary’s qualifications were spot on. Serving eight years in the United States Senate to Obama’s two years there, if that means anything superior, Hillary may have been more qualified than Obama was when they first ran for President in 2008. Add to that her four years as Secretary of State and her qualifications today are light-years ahead of Obama in 2008. But even with all of that, she'll have to prove herself to the country, to the electorate.

Unfortunately, for all the experience she has from those two public service offices, Hillary may be best known as the First Lady of President Bill Clinton, a title she can’t escape. And, if her campaign continues to refer to her as “Hillary” instead of Ms. Clinton or Secretary Clinton, she may have a hard time shaking the First Lady moniker though she could still be elected. There would be some who would title her as President and former First Lady Hillary Clinton.

No doubt the “woman” or “female” card (similar to "race" card) will be played often in this election. The comment from the man in Iowa was because he is a die-hard Obama supporter, and he doesn’t have the same feeling toward Clinton as a Presidential candidate, not because she’s a woman. In his mind, she has to prove herself to him. However, no matter what anyone says about Hillary, if it comes across negative in the slightest (which will be that way more to women than to men), we will be told it’s because she a woman. Her campaign wants it both ways: the election of the first woman as President of the United States without anyone saying the slightest thing that may be construed as sexist. Or maybe they don’t mind the “negative” attention?
--------------------
Dictionary.com word of the day
schlemiel (noun) [shluh-meel]: and awkward and unlucky person for whom things never turn out right

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Duke Energy offers a bribe; Lee County Commissioners take it

When is a bribe not a bribe? That’s a questions being asked in Lee County, my hometown of Sanford being the county seat. The answer is simple: When Duke Energy extends the cash and the Lee County Commissioners decide to take it. That’s what has happened recently—Duke Energy putting $12 million of unmarked bills in an plain manila envelope, and the County Commissioners lurking in the shadows, taking the money, though this was done in public view—so there would be no objection from the local lawmakers in relation to the dumping and storing of coal ash in Lee County. It looks, smells and feels like a bride, but it’s legal, and that’s too bad.

Duke Energy, the nation’s largest energy company, has issues all over the place with coal ash as a result of operating coal burning power plants for eons. The issue surfaced, so to speak, when there was leakage in a major Virginia-North Carolina river. So, Duke Energy, the villain in this story, has to secure the coal ash and store it some place for the safety of mankind. The perfect spots seem to be an old clay (for brick) mining area of Lee County in the Colon community and nearly directly across the Cape Fear River in the Chatham County community of Brickhaven in another clay mining area. Unlike their Lee County brethren and to their credit, the Chatham County Commissioners have refused to take a bribe from Duke Energy. Instead they continue to fight against Duke Energy’s plan.

Reasoning for taking the money includes the thought Duke Energy will gets its way no matter what so why not get paid for it. In that regard, the Lee County Commissioners are shirking their duty of protecting the citizens there. The commissioners should be fighting the dumping of coal ash every step of the way instead of going with the flow and taking part in the bribery scheme. It would be interesting to see how many Lee County Commissioners have received political contributions from Duke Energy executives. There must be some skeletons in their closets. It would be a good story for the local newspaper, The Sanford Herald, to pursue.

The Lee County Commissioners should be ashamed of themselves for jumping into bed with Duke Energy which has not been fined enough and not been held responsible enough for its wrong-doing. Only when the current and former Presidents and CEOs of Duke Energy agree to dump and store the coal ash in their own residential backyard should other sites be used. What the Lee County Commissioners have done is no better than the deliberate pollution by Duke Energy. Unfortunately, in this case, offering the bribe and taking the bribe seem to be perfectly legal. Hopefully, when the next election rolls around, the citizens of Lee County will remember and vote the crooks out.
--------------------
Dictionary.com word of the day
argot (noun) [ahr-goh]: the special vocabulary of a particular profession or social group

Monday, April 13, 2015

Two day old stories in The N&O are okay, just not box scores

On the way to Chapel Hill, after picking up my brother-in-law the avid fan of the Diamond Heels, to see game three of the NC State-North Carolina baseball series, the discussion turned to the previous night’s win by North Carolina, a 3-2 nail biter that ended in the 10th inning when a Wolfpack pitcher walked three straight and then put the next batter on base when the pitch slammed into the batter’s shoulder, breaking a tie-game and driving in the winning run. In baseball parlance, it was a walk-off HBP.

Is there only one edition of The News & Observer, my BIL asked, sort of knowing the answer that his paper and my paper are probably run at the same time or at least with the same news? In neither the paper in my driveway nor the one at in his newspaper box at the start of his rural development’s entrance road about half a mile from his house was there any mention of Saturday's game except for the score, in the agate page. Dick Herbert was right. There’s more information there than in the written stories or lack thereof.

The Saturday game ended about 9:30 pm, an hour earlier than the Friday night version between State and Carolina. The Saturday paper covering Friday’s game had a full-length report with a doubleheader headline on the front of the Sports Section. Game one of the series was fully covered, but after Saturday’s game, the newspaper failed to include anything other than the score, not even one line in a college sports roundup, driving the interested fans to the websites of the two schools with little in-depth coverage and most of it bias, of course.

Sunday’s game, which included a 2 p.m. first pitch was won by State, 6-3, ended around 5:20 p.m., time enough for the newspaper to give it a standard statistical-type report by a reporter who knows not how to flavor game action with words. He might as well have written his article from a play-by-play with some quotes supplied by the media departments of the two schools. Or maybe he watched it on ESPN3 and compiled the report from that which is what WRAL-TV did for its reporting, not sending a cameraman reporter to the game. In addition to the Monday report about the Sunday game there was a short story about the Saturday game. The latter was from "news reports," a nice way of saying the newspaper didn't think the game was important enough to cover with a staff writer or a stringer.

There’s bias here wanting more coverage of games such as State-Carolina baseball, no matter the outcome. With the majority of the sports subscribers of the newspaper clearly in the Wolfpack and Tar Heels camps, it seems the newspaper—and the television station, for that matter—could make a better effort to service its customers in more ways than tossing a bundle of ads on the driveway.
--------------------
Dictionary.com word of the day
derring-do (noun) [der-ing-doo]: daring deeds; heroic daring

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Time stands still even for 3 hours, 20 minutes of baseball

In his Saturday column in The News & Observer, executive editor John Drescher noted that last year the average time to play a major league baseball game was nearly 3 hours, 10 minutes, up more than 20 minutes over the past five years and more than 40 minutes additional since 1970. Sunday, the NC State 6-3 baseball win over North Carolina took about 3 hours, 20 minutes.

The length of game three of a three-game series between those two rivals was due to more than an average number of hits, several walks, many visits to the mound by players and coaches, pitching changes, and deep counts. It had nothing to do with wasted time by the at-bat players or the pitchers. The game progressed in a timely fashion but seemed to last too long but not because of extra activities such as extended television commercials.

If the major leagues want to hurry its games, reduce the time taken between innings to sell products that support the TV broadcast. With commercials taking somewhere between two and three minutes, a game is extended by 36 to 54 minutes. But that will not happen. Even if one sponsor agreed to support an entire game, suggesting 30 seconds between half innings, players and managers would object, desiring the additional rest time. There are reasons the playing portion of the games has grown, and that’s due to technology. More on that in another post.

In college basketball, there are eight “media” breaks, each lasting 2 minutes, 15 seconds or nearly 20 minutes, and with the additional time from the blow of the whistle to go to the commercial and the additional time coming out of the break, media breaks add 30 minutes to a game. There’s no doubt that games will continue to expand in minutes from start to finish because of the lucrative investment by TV networks. And, that’s a shame.

Sitting in UNC’s Boshamer Stadium Sunday, it seemed as if the game was extended a bit, but when thinking back, while the pace seemed a little slow, there was nothing to do about it except to enjoy the game. With the Wolfpack victorious, a few more minutes in Chapel Hill wasn’t so bad, and we still arrived back in Cary to see the final few holes of Jordan Spieth’s wonderful win of the Masters golf tournament.
--------------------
Dictionary.com word of the day
caseous (adjective) [key-see-uh s]: of or like cheese

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Putting a few words on paper, using stream of thought to write

It’s late Saturday afternoon and no post until this writing about 5:30 p.m. The promise to write everyday is nearing conclusion so what to write about but trying to write and what has been read this day or recently otherwise. It’s not easy to come up with something different and new each day but we try. What was read in the morning paper? Or what was of personal importance yesterday?

It was a pleasant surprise to see a mention by John Drescher, executive editor of The News & Observer, in his weekly column today. This week he explained why the print edition of the newspaper has dropped baseball box scores. The reasoning is no different from what was written here a few days ago. Late games and early print deadlines prevent the newspaper from including timely stats of the previous day’s games.

However, yesterday’s 2-1 win by North Carolina over my NC State baseball team, a game that ended around 10:30 p.m., made it in the newspaper that’s tossed on my front lawn around 6 a.m. Also, of interest to me and John was the 19-inning game between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, unfortunately won by the latter, 6-5. There were 32 hits in that game. Today, the Red Sox beat my Yankees, 8-4, today in nine innings. Another sad outcome in the Bronx.

The Yankees have been my major league team since the early 1960s when Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris battled for home run supremacy. My first game in a major league ball park was in 1978 when tickets were made available for World Series games 3-4-5 in Yankee Stadium against the Los Angeles Dodgers. What a terrific maiden voyage into a major league park. Since then, there have been visits to Wrigley Field, Shea Stadium, Fulton County Stadium, Turner Field, the Texas Rangers stadium in Arlington, and Camden Yards.

When you think for a moment, putting a few interesting words on paper and then posting is not that difficult. It takes a little stream of thought and a place to get started. Thank you John.
--------------------
Dictionary.com word of the day
polyglot (adjective) [pol-ee-glot]: containing, composed of , or written in several languages